So, Tuesday Tunes is pretty simple. Every Tuesday, we’re going to share with you a bit of music from a variety of nerdy sensations from around the globe. But this isn’t just us burning CDs for each other–a large part of what we all geek out over is culturally significant as well.
Some posts are going to be about things you know and love, and some will not only offer a new tune to get stuck in your head, but may also provide some new knowledge on cultures outside of our jurisdiction–yours and mine! Well, that’s our hope, at least. Maybe you’re just way more well-rounded than us? (Probably.)
Why K-Pop Groups Are So Big
Before we touch on this week’s schweet tune, let’s talk a brief history of K-pop. And, more specifically, K-pop groups. K-pop is an abbreviation of Korean pop, and it’s just like it sounds, specifically the pop music scene in South Korea. Currently we’re seeing what has been dubbed as Hallyu, or the Korean Wave, as we have seen a rise in popularity of Korean culture in other countries–and K-pop is a big part of that. One of the key calaysts was the international success of Psy’s “Gangam Style” in 2012. You know. “Gangham Style”. C’mon, here was even a pistachios commercial about it.
Yeah, you know you’ve tried doing that dance at least once. It’s okay, we’re right there with you. Psy’s sick dance moves cracked interest in Korea and its music wide open (ha, pun). But what is so distinctly Korean, in my opinion, is their K-pop groups.
Korean music bands are unique because they’re, well, massive. While a four or five member boy band is the standard established here in the west, K-pop’s Super Junior has has up to thirteen members. K-pop groups are also unique in the fact that their members aren’t set in stone. As in, there’s no Justin-leaves-and-the-band-dies. The idea to such large groups is that it opens up the band to be loved by a larger diversity of fans. There’s a band member for everyone to love.
The K-pop multi-member group set-up is actually smart not only for merchandising, as it spreads fan enthusiasm across a larger range of members, but it also reduces the blow when someone leaves the group or otherwise is unable to attend a performance. Basically, their ginormousness is economically smart.
“Cheer Up” by Twice
This week’s tune is from a K-pop female group called Twice (트와이스). Twice is made up of nine members: Nayeon, Jeongyeon, Momo, Sana, Jihyo, Mina, Dahyun, Chaeyoung, and Tzuyu. The reason they’re a pretty interesting first subject for Tuesday Tunes is because they rose to popularity so freaking fast. When Twice debuted in 2015, so did 22 other K-pop groups. Even with that insane competition, Twice went on to sell 0.49 million copies of their debut album–a crazy accomplishment for a newly formed group.
“Cheer Up” is the single that really got them in the spotlight in 2016. It was the best preforming single that year on the Gaon Digital Chart, and also won Song of the Year in two major music awards shows, Melon Music Awards and Mnet Asian Music Awards. YouTube also revealed “Cheer Up” as the number one most loved music video by South Koreans.
The music video for “Cheer Up” displays the key components to most K-pop idol group music videos: incredibly synchronized dance motifs, as well as highlights of each band member in their respectable stereotypical personality roles. I love it.